On the latest Billboard 200 albums chart (dated Dec. 3), A Tribe Called Quest nabbed its first No. 1 in more than 20 years, as We Got It From Here… Thank You 4 Your Service launched atop the list. The album earned 135,000 equivalent album units in the week ending Nov. 17, according to Nielsen Music, of which 112,000 were in traditional album sales.
The Billboard 200 chart ranks the week's most popular albums based on their overall consumption. That overall unit figure combines pure album sales, track equivalent albums (TEA) and streaming equivalent albums (SEA).
Now, let's take a closer look at some of the action on the latest Billboard 200 chart:
-- Sting, 57th & 9th - No. 9 -- Sting scores his 11th top 10 album, as his new studio effort 57th & 9th bows at No. 9 with 28,000 units. Perhaps surprisingly, Sting has not yet earned a solo No. 1 on the chart. (His band The Police did lead the list, once, with Synchronicity, which spent a whopping 17 weeks at No. 1 in 1983.)
Sting has the second-most top 10 albums without a No. 1. Ahead of him in this unique categorization is the rock band Rush, with 12 top 10 sets. Both Sting and Rush have gone as high as No. 2. Sting reached the runner-up slot three times, with his solo debut The Dream of the Blue Turtles (which spent six weeks at No. 2 in 1985), The Soul Cages (1991) and Ten Summoner's Tales (1993). As for Rush, the group hit No. 2 twice, with Counterparts in 1993 and Clockwork Angels in 2012.
Not counted in our tabulation of the acts with the most top 10s, but without a No. 1, is the Kidz Bop Kids franchise. Many of the Kidz Bop albums mostly featured anonymous studio singers, though the line's recent sets have focused on branding named talent and have even taken the Kidz Bop Kids on tour. Because of how the Kidz Bop brand began not with an actual group, but unnamed vocalists, it's hard to compare their entire body of work to acts like Sting or Rush. That said, the Kidz Bop Kids albums have reached the top 10 a whopping 24 times and five of them have hit No. 2. However, the Kidz have yet to top the list.
-- Leonard Cohen, The Essential Leonard Cohen - No. 13 -- Cohen, who died on Nov. 7, debuts at No. 13 with this best-of compilation, The Essential Leonard Cohen (20,000 units; 11,000 in traditional album sales). Up inside the top 10, his newest studio album, You Want it Darker, climbs 48-7 with 30,000 units (up 197 percent) and 28,000 sold (up 188 percent). While Cohen died on Nov. 7, his passing was not announced until Nov. 10.
In the week ending Nov. 17, Cohen's catalog of albums sold 56,000 (up 283 percent from 15,000), while his songs sold 72,000 downloads (up 631 percent from just 10,000). In terms of on-demand streams, his tunes collected 18.3 million streams during that tracking frame, a gain of 407 percent (from 3.6 million).
In total, his album and song sales, along with on-demand streams, rose 407 percent to 18.45 million for the week (up from 3.64 million).
-- Various Artists, Cities 97: Sampler Vol. 28, Live From Studio C - No. 23 -- The long-running annual charity album series from KTCZ Minneapolis (known locally as Cities 97) charts its latest entry at No. 23 with 17,000 units (all from traditional album sales). The compilation consists of live performances at the radio station, including tunes from Rachel Platten, Ingrid Michaelson, Charlie Puth, O.A.R. and Andra Day. All proceeds from the album benefit charities in Minneapolis and $1 from every album sold will go to Children's Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota. The set, as usual, was produced in a limited quantity and is sold exclusively through Target.
Eight of the Cities 97 albums have charted on the Billboard 200 and the series even snagged at top 10 set in 2013, when the 25th volume debuted and peaked at No. 10 on the chart dated Dec. 7, 2013.
Since the series began reporting its sales to Nielsen (back in 1992), the Cities 97 albums have sold 646,000 in the U.S. According to a press release, the new album is expected to generate nearly $660,000 funds, bringing the Cities 97 series' cumulative total raised to $12 million.
-- Leslie Odom, Jr., Simply Christmas - No. 31 -- The Tony Award-winning actor from Hamilton notches his second charting album in five months, as his hew holiday effort Simply Christmas bows at No. 31 (15,000 units; 14,000 from traditional album sales). He bowed earlier this year with his self-titled album, debuting and peaking at No. 147.
The new set also arrives at No. 1 on the Jazz Albums chart, while his self-titled effort (and former No. 1), holds at No. 4. In 2016, only three artists have placed two albums inside the top four of the chart at the same time: Odom, Jr., Tony Bennett and Frank Sinatra.
-- Grateful Dead, Dave's Picks, Vol. 20: CU Events Center, Univ. of CO. Boulder, CO 12/9/81 - No. 39 -- Grateful Dead picks up its 30th top 40-charting album as this new archival live collection enters the list at No. 39 with 13,000 units (all from traditional album sales).
-- David Bowie, Legacy - No. 78 -- The late legend's new greatest hits album, Legacy, debuts at No. 78, granting Bowie his 44th charting album. Bowie has placed more than 10 hits albums on the Billboard 200, including Legacy. The new set is a career-spanning effort, and includes a pair of songs from his final studio album, Blackstar: "Lazarus" and "I Can't Give Everything Away."
-- Jordan Smith, 'Tis the Season - No. 112 -- The winner of the ninth season of NBC's The Voice arrives with his new holiday effort, 'Tis the Season. It follows his debut studio album, Something Beautiful, which debuted and peaked at No. 2 earlier in 2016. 'Tis the Season also rises 22-11 on the Top Holiday Albums chart in its third week on the list.